This Savvy LGBTQ Parenting Tips will Make you understand How you should Support your Gay Kid.
Let’s face it, parenting is going to be hard no matter the situation. From the second those two lines show up on the pregnancy test, your world changes. The days of living your lives for yourselves become living lives for yourselves and the little one you are about to have. You know you are about to have years of hard work, but you also know it will be completely worth it.
We haven’t even mentioned having more than one kid.
When you are a parent-to-be and after your child is born, you work from what people would consider “normal” when it comes to raising your kids. You’ve learned the “normal” times that a child will walk, the “normal” times they will utter those first precious words. You know they will “normally” go to elementary school, middle school, and high school. It may be “normal” to assume they will go to college and then start a “normal” family. Well, guess what? It usually doesn’t work out normal at all. Things change and plans get altered. One thing that families usually don’t consider until the situation is on them is what happens if their child turns out to be gay or lesbian? What if they are bisexual or transgender? This is not a topic that would fall under the radar or being “normal,” but it should be.
Acceptance for the LGBTQ community has come a long way and been through some mighty struggles. The conversation has changed for families, especially over the last decade. Television shows and movies have brought LGBTQ characters and issues into the living room on a regular basis and it has opened the conversation that so many families didn’t use to have on a regular basis. It has made it okay to broach the topic in a more open way.
If it turns out that your child is LGBTQ, don’t panic. The main thing you need to do at first is exactly what you signed up for – be a parent. There are some things that parents can do try to make parenting an LBGT child easier. This list is by no means everything, but hopefully, it will give you a good starting point.
- No, this is probably not in the range of “normal” you were expecting, but the fact is that your child is going to face a different set of challenges than you were planning. Don’t let one of those challenges be your failure to accept their sexuality. One of the biggest fears any LGBTQ child has is telling their parents, whether it be because of religious issues or thinking that they may not provide grandchildren for you. Too many kids end up homeless because their parents couldn’t handle their sexuality. More often than not, this leads to them getting hooked on drugs and even selling their bodies to sustain themselves. For them to be successful and happy, they need their parents to accept and love them for who they are.
If You Know, Help
- Parents are intuitive. You sometimes know things about your kids before they do or before they are willing to tell you. There may come a time when you suspect that your child has feelings for the same-sex or is confused about their gender identity. Maybe you’ve caught them glancing at someone or perhaps you stumbled across something they’ve looked at on the computer. You can do a few things if you suspect your child is LGBTQ. First, let them know you are comfortable with the issue. When you are with them and see LGBTQ issues, such as characters on a TV show or movie, you can say something like, “That is so great that we can finally portray this as normal, because it is.” If you’ve created this type of environment and they still don’t seem to want to tell you, you might have to sit them down and ask. When you do so, make sure they know you love them and that if they are LGBTQ, then that is completely okay with you.
Sexuality is Tough
- Whether your kid is straight or in the LGBTQ community, you are going to face challenges when it comes to their sexuality. You probably dreaded “the talk” already and now you may have to rearrange the talking points to make them fit the situation (no pun intended). You can fully expect the teenage years to be hormone filled regardless of who they love.
Do Your Research
- Get online and find resources to help you understand your child. Make connections with other LGBTQ parents. You will soon realize that you are not alone in your situation. There are support groups that can help you every step of the way. The organization Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has many resources that will prove to be invaluable to you. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network focuses on LGBTQ K-12 issues. These are just two of the many great resources you can find with a little bit of research. Arm yourself with the tools to help your child.
Communicate Your Fears
- If you have fears about what they will face because they are LGBTQ, tell them. Explain to them why you have those fears while at the same time letting them know that every parent has fears for their children as they grow up. They want to know how you are feeling. If you are honest with them, they will be more honest with you.
Listen to Them
- You want your child to be able to communicate with you. Being LGBTQ will put different kinds of pressures on them and they need to be able to tell you what they are thinking and going through. When they tell you something that is worrying them or something that makes them happy, really listen to them. Don’t make the situation about you by trying to solve their problems. Guess what? No parent solves all their kid’s problems, no matter how much they may want to. Just be ready to listen to the thoughts in their head.
Guide Them Forward
- Help your child as they start to come out to others. Maybe they’ve told their friends, maybe they haven’t. Offer tips that you can both learn from research online. When it comes to telling extended family, they will need you to be strong. Back your child up unequivocally and they will have the strength to handle any reaction from other people.
It’s Only a Part
- Being LGBTQ is only a part of who your child is. Just like being smart and artistic is a part of who they are, this doesn’t define them. Our children, their personalities, are made up of thousands of factors that create the individuals that they are becoming. Yes, they are LGBTQ but don’t forget the rest of what makes them who they are. If you suddenly make their entire existence based on being LGBTQ, they will feel self-conscious.
- Find some local resources. There are parents in your area experiencing the same things you are. There may be some local support groups that will offer a different environment than what you will find online. You can connect with them and share advice. Learn your local laws. What kind of protections does local or state government offer the LGBTQ community? You can find out how school in your area handle LGBTQ issues.
You Are Their Partner Until They Have One
- Just like any other parent, you want your child to find someone they love to spend the rest of their life with. Just know that the prospect of finding someone is a little more terrifying for people in the LGBTQ community. It is getting easier with the rise of acceptance and expansion of technology to connect with others, but it is still more difficult than what straight people face. Your child needs you to be their partner for a while. They need you to help fight the battles with them and to be there at the end of a rough day.
You can do this. By arming yourself with the information you need and connect with other LGBTQ parents, you can prepare for what comes next. You want the best for your children just like any other parent. We hope these tips will come in handy. Check back with us often for some more ideas.